Inside The Game: Flames vs. Red Wings
FLAMES CLIP WINGS 3-2
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames have relished the role of spoiler down the stretch.
Jimmy Howard might've helped them sour the Detroit Red Wings.
Steve Begin scored twice in the third period off of goaltending gaffs with the puck as the Calgary Flames dropped the Red Wings 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome and out of a playoff spot on Wednesday night.
The Red Wings loss coupled with a Columbus Blue Jackets win slips Detroit into ninth in the Western Conference, jeopardizing their streak of 21-consecutive seasons in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tied 1-1, Begin received his first gift 2:28 into the third period.
An awkward exchange behind the net between Howard and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson allowed Begin to swoop in and poke the puck off the pad of the Detroit goaltender scrambling to his crease and across the goal line.
The 34-year-old Begin added another at 12:53, swooping in on the penalty kill to steal the puck off a fanned clearing attempt by Howard behind the net and promptly depositing it in the vacant cage.
Johan Franzen caught a bounce of his own at the expense of starter Miikka Kiprusoff, bouncing a backhand from center ice that squeaked between the legs of the Calgary keeper at 17:18.
The blunder set the stage for some heroics from Kiprusoff, who made 36 saves on the night.
With Curtis Glencross in the penalty box and Detroit's net empty for the 6-on-4 advantage, Jakub Kindl found himself alone with the puck at the top of the faceoff circle. Kindl uncorked a blast that Kiprusoff flashed the glove on, ending any hope of a comeback for the Red Wings.
Desperate for points, Detroit came out flat in the first period, allowing Lee Stempniak to put the Flames on the board at 13:28.
Stempniak dropped the puck to Sven Baertschi, who fed a backhand pass to Cory Sarich, who drove the puck on net. Howard made the initial stop but put the rebound right onto Stempniak's stick, who made no mistake in burying his ninth of the season.
Gustav Nyquist tied the game in the second period, taking a back-door pass from Joakim Andersson and tapping it behind Kiprusoff at 12:31.
GOAL OF THE GAME
After taking a drop pass from Stempniak, Baertschi spun and quickly sailed a pass slightly behind Sarich. Forced to spin to receive the pass, Sarich fired a shot on net kicked out by Howard onto the stick of Stempniak, who buried the rebound at 13:28 of the first period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
With just 16.6 seconds remaining in the game and with Detroit on a 6-on-4 advantage, Kiprusoff came out to challenge Kindl alone in the slot, who uncorked a howitzer that the Flames goaltender flashed the leather on -- the most spectacular of his 36 stops.
Begin's second gift at 12:53 gave the Flames a two-goal lead and served as the eventual winner over the Red Wings.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“Guys think I cut a deal with the goalie on the other side, but just lucky bounces. It's weird.”
STAT OF THE GAME
A veteran of 524 National Hockey League contests, Wednesday's tilt against Detroit was just the third multi-goal game of Begin's career.
The Flames conclude the home portion of the regular season Friday against the Anaheim Ducks (7 p.m. MT, SNET-FLAMES) before hitting the road for their final four games of the year.